T. S. Eliot's "La Figlia Che Piange" and the tradition of decadent aestheticism

Author: Budziak, Anna
Source document: Brno studies in English. 2014, vol. 40, iss. 2, pp. [27]-45
Extent
[27]-45
  • ISSN
    0524-6881 (print)
    1805-0867 (online)
Type
Article
Language
English
License: Not specified license
Abstract(s)
In this essay, T. S. Eliot's "La Figlia Che Piange" – a modernist but also uniquely Romantic and Decadent lyric – is read in terms of its relationship with the tradition of British Decadent Aestheticism: viewed as both an invocation of Decadent sensibility and a critique of it. The Decadent strategies of Eliot's poem are explored with a focus shifting from grammar, to imagery, to the speaker's position, and to the interweaving of irony and emotion. These Decadent tactics are also discussed in the context of their parallels present in the works of Walter Pater, Oscar Wilde, Austin Dobson, Max Beerbohm, Aubrey Beardsley and Ernest Dowson. Notably, with Pater, Dobson and Dowson, a direct inspiration, rather than a parallel, is suggested – a literary influence on the poet who still puzzles contemporary critics with the fact, recorded in Sitwell's memoir, of occasionally sporting green face powder which, as the famous green carnation, was seen as emblematically Decadent.
Document
References:
[1] Ackroyd, Peter (1984) T. S. Eliot . London: Hamish Hamilton.

[2] Allan, Mowbray (1974) T. S. Eliot's Impersonal Theory of Poetry . Cranbury, N.J.: Associated University Presses.

[3] Beardsley, Aubrey (1904) Under the Hill and Other Essays in Prose and Verse by Aubrey Beardsley with Illustrations . London: John Lane.

[4] Beerbohm, Max (1896) The Works of Max Beerbohm with a Bibliography by John Lane . London: John Lane and The Bodley Head; New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.

[5] Blissett, William (1953) " Pater and Eliot ". University of Toronto Quarterly 22, 261–268.

[6] Bucknell, Brad (2001) Literary Modernism and Musical Aesthetics . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[7] Budziak, Anna (2008a) " Between Metaphysics and Physics: Aristotelian and Postmodernist Perspectives in T. S. Eliot's Theory of Poetic Expression, the Mind and the Soul ". Anglica Wratislaviensia 45, 9–22.

[8] Budziak, Anna (2008b) " Pater and Eliot: The Case of Aestheticizing Ethics ". In: Cieslak, Magdalena and Rasmus, Agnieszka (eds.) PASE Studies in Literature and Culture. Lodz: Lodz University Press, 77–85.

[9] Budziak, Anna (2008c) Text body and Indeterminacy: Doppelgänger Selves in Pater and Wilde . Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars.

[10] Budziak, Anna (2011) " T. S. Eliot's Debt to Oscar Wilde: The Paradox of Impersonality ". Anglica Wratislaviensia 49, 19–28.

[11] Budziak, Anna (2012) " The idea of Emotion in T. S. Eliot and in Richard Shusterman ". In: Koczanowicz Dorota and Wojciech Malecki (eds.) Shusterman's Pragmatism: Between Literature and Somaesthetics. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 33–51.

[12] Budziak, Anna (2013) " Literature in Walter Pater's Architectural Analogy ". Brno Studies in English 39 (1), 183–198. | DOI 10.5817/BSE2013-1-10

[13] Burton, Richard D.E. (1994) The Flâneur and His City. Patterns of Daily life in Paris 1815–1851 . Durham: University of Durham Press.

[14] Bush, Ronald (1984) T. S. Eliot: A Study in Character and Style . Oxford, Oxford University Press.

[15] Christ, Carol T. (1981) " T. S. Eliot and the Victorians ". Modern Philology 79 (2), 157–165.

[16] Conlon, John (1982) ' Eliot and Pater: Criticism in Transition '. English Literature in Transition 25, 169–188.

[17] De Laura, David (1965) " Pater and Eliot: The Origin of the Objective Correlative ". Modern Language Quarterly 26, 426–431. | DOI 10.1215/00267929-26-3-426

[18] De Laura, David (1966) " Echoes of Butler, Browning, Conrad and Pater in the Poetry of T. S. Eliot ". English Language Notes 3, 211–221.

[19] De Man, Paul (1982) Allegories of Reading: Figural Language in Rousseau, Nietzsche, Rilke, and Proust . New Haven: Yale University Press.

[20] De Man, Paul (1996) Blindness and Insight: Essays in the Rhetoric of Contemporary Criticism . 2nd ed. rev. Abingdon, Routledge.

[21] Dobson, Austin (1895) " Ars Victrix ". In: Clarence, Edmund (ed.) A Victorian Anthology, 1837– 1895. Cambridge: Riverside Press. Bartleby.com 2003. Accessed on 10.03.2014. http://www.bartleby.com/246/.

[22] Dobson, Austin (2012) " To a Greek Girl ". Collected Poems. Classic Reprint. 1902. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co.

[23] Donoghue, Denis (2000) Words Alone: The Poet T. S. Eliot . New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

[24] Doreski, William (1993) " Politics of Discourse in Eliot's 'Portrait of a Lady' ". Yeats Eliot Review 12 (1), 9–15.

[25] Dowling, Linda (1986) Language and Decadence in the Victorian Fin de Siècle . Princeton, Princeton University Press.

[26] Dowson, Ernest (2003) Collected Poems . Thornton R. K. R. and Caroline Dowson (introd. and notes). Birmingham: The University of Birmingham Press.

[27] Eliot, T. S. (1976) Selected Essays . London: Faber & Faber.

[28] Eliot, T. S. (1977) The Complete Poems and Plays of T. S. Eliot . London: Book Club Associates.

[29] Fleissner, Robert F. (1966) " 'Prufrock', Pater, and Richard II: Retracing a Denial of Princeship ". American Literature 38, 120–123.

[30] Freedman, Jonathan (1990) Professions of Taste: Henry James, British Aestheticism and Commodity Culture . Stanford: Stanford University Press.

[31] Geary, E. A. (1986) " T. S. Eliot and the fin de siècle ". Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature 40 (1/2), 21–33.

[32] Gleber, Anke (1999) The Art of Taking a Walk. Flanerie, Literature, and Film in Weimar Culture . Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

[33] Hanoosh, Michelle (1989) Parody and Decadence: Laforgue's Moralites Legendaires . Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press.

[34] Harris, Wendell V. (1981) " The Road to and from Eliot's 'Place of Pater' ". Texas Studies in Language and Literature 23, 183–196.

[35] Headings, Philip Ray (1964) T. S. Eliot . New York: Twayne Publishers.

[36] Huysmans J.-K. (1987) Against Nature (À Rebourse) . Baldick, Robert (trans.). Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

[37] Ishak, Fayek M. (1970) The Mystical Philosophy of T. S. Eliot . New Haven, CT: College and University Press.

[38] Jackson, Holbrook (1972) The Eighteen Nineties: A Review of Art and Ideas at the Close of the Nineteenth Century . 1922. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

[39] Kenner, Hugh (1960) The Invisible Poet: T. S. Eliot . London: W. H. Allen.

[40] Laity, Cassandra (2004) " T. S. Eliot and A. C. Swinburne: Decadent Bodies, Modern Visualities, and Changing Modes of Perception ". Modernism / Modernity 11 (3), 425–448.

[41] Levenson, Michael H. (1986) A Genealogy of Modernism, A Study of English Literary Doctrine 1908–1922 . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[42] Levinas, Emmanuel (2001) Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority . Lingis, Alphonso (trans.) Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesen University Press.

[43] Loucks, James F. (1993) " Pater and Carlyle in Eliot's 'Little Gidding' ". Notes and Queries 238 (4), 500–502. | DOI 10.1093/nq/40-4-500b

[44] Lütkeimer, Thomas (2001) Chez Soi – the Aesthetic Self in Schopenhauer, Walter Pater and T. S. Eliot . Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann.

[45] McGrath, F. C. (1986) The Sensible Spirit: Walter Pater and The Modernist Paradigm . Tampa: University of South Florida Press.

[46] Murphy, Paul (1996) " The Dream Interpretation and the Dark Continent of Femininity: 'Circe's Palace' and 'On a Portrait' ". Essays in Poetics 19 (2), 25–33.

[47] Nicholls, Peter (1995) Modernisms: A Literary Guide . Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

[48] O'Shaughnessy, Arthur (1882) " Song of a Fellow Worker ". In: Fiske Bates, Charlotte (ed.) The Cambridge Book of Poetry and Song. New York: T.Y. Crowell & Company, 404–405.

[49] Paglia, Camille (1991) Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson . London: Penguin Books.

[50] Pater, Walter (1987) Appreciations: With an Essay on Style . Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.

[51] Pater, Walter Horatio (1998) The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry . Oxford World's Classics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[52] Powell, Kerry (1983) " Tom, Dick, and Dorian Gray: Magic-Picture Mania in Later Victorian Fiction ". Philological Quarterly 62, 147–170.

[53] Roper, Derek (2002) " T. S. Eliot's 'La Figlia Che Piange: A Picture without a Frame' ". Essays in Criticism 52 (3), 222–234.

[54] Schopenhauer, Arthur (2010) The World as Will and Representation . Norman, Judith, Alistair Welchman, and Christopher Janaway (trans. and eds.). Vol. 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[55] Schuchard, Ronald (1999) Eliot's Dark Angel: Intersections of Life and Art . Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[56] Scofield, Martin (1988) T. S. Eliot: The Poems . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[57] Shanahan, C. M. (1955) " Irony in Laforgue, Corbière, and Eliot ". Modern Philology 53 (2), 117– 128. | DOI 10.1086/389086

[58] Shusterman, Richard (1990) " Wilde and Eliot ". T. S. Eliot Annual 1, 117–144.

[59] Shusterman, Richard (1992) Pragmatist Aesthetics: Living Beauty, Rethinking Art. Oxford , Cambridge MA: Blackwell.

[60] Sigg, Eric (1989) The American Eliot: A Study of the Early Writings . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[61] Smith, Grover (1949) " T. S. Eliot's Lady of the Rocks ". Notes and Queries 194, 123–125.

[62] Smith, Grover (1956) T. S. Eliot's Poetry and Plays: A Study in Sources and Meaning . Chicago: Phoenix Books and The University of Chicago Press.

[63] Southam, B. C. (1994) A Student's Guide to the Selected Poems of T. S. Eliot , 6th ed. London: Faber & Faber.

[64] Thain, Margaret (2007) " Poetry ". In: Marshall, Gail (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to the Fin de Siècle. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 223–240.

[65] Wilde, Oscar (1999) Collins Complete Works of Oscar Wilde: Centenary Edition . Glasgow: Harper Collins and Omnia Books.